Professor Jillian Banfield FRS

Jill Banfield is an earth scientist who studies the structure, functioning and diversity of microbial communities in natural environments and the human microbiome.  Her laboratory and collaborators pioneered the reconstruction of genomes from natural ecosystems and community metaproteomic analyses. Through genomics, her group has provided insights into previously unknown and little known bacterial and archaeal lineages, leading to a new rendition of the Tree of Life.  She has conducted extensive research on natural and synthetic nanomaterials, exploring the impacts of particle size on their structure, properties and reactivity. Her lab described the oriented attachment-based mechanism for growth of nanoparticles and its implications for development of defect microstructures. She has also studied microorganism-mineral interactions, including those that lead to production of nanomaterials.

Jill is a Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, with appointments in the Earth Science, Ecosystem Science and Materials Science and Engineering departments.  She leads the Microbial Research initiative within the Innovative Genomics Institute, is affiliated with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and has a position at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

Professional position

  • Professor, University of Melbourne
  • Professor, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Berkeley

Subject groups

  • Chemistry

    Chemistry, materials

  • Earth and environmental sciences


  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology

    Molecular microbiology

  • Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology

    General microbiology (incl bacteriology and virology)

  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology

    Environmental biology, Soil science

Professor Jillian Banfield FRS
Elected 2018

Credit: Picture credit - Elena Zhukova